Translated by James Legge
1 The Master said, 'Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application?
2 'Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters?'
3 'Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?'
1 The philosopher Yu said, 'They are few who, being filial and fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors. There have been none, who, not liking to offend against their superiors, have been fond of stirring up confusion.
2 'The superior man bends his attention to what is radical.
That being established, all practical courses naturally grow up. Filial piety and fraternal submission!-- are they not the root of all benevolent actions?'
The Master said, 'Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.'
The philosopher Tsang said, 'I daily examine myself on three points:-- whether, in transacting business for others, I may have been not faithful;-- whether, in intercourse with friends, I may have been not sincere;-- whether I may have not mastered and practised the instructions of my teacher.'
The Master said, To rule a country of a thousand chariots, there must be reverent attention to business, and sincerity; economy in expenditure, and love for men; and the employment of the people at the proper seasons.'
The Master said, 'A youth, when at home, should be filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders. He should be earnest and truthful. He should overflow in love to all, and cultivate the friendship of the good. When he has time and opportunity, after the performance of these things, he should employ them in polite studies.'
Tsze-hsia said, 'If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere:-- although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.'
1 The Master said, 'If the scholar be not grave, he will not call forth any veneration, and his learning will not be solid.
2 'Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.
3 'Have no friends not equal to yourself.
4 'When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.'
The philosopher Tsang said, 'Let there be a careful attention to perform the funeral rites to parents, and let them be followed when long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice;-- then the virtue of the people will resume its proper excellence.'
1 Tsze-ch'in asked Tsze-kung, saying, 'When our master comes to any country, he does not fail to learn all about its government. Does he ask his information? or is it given to him?'
2 Tsze-kung said, 'Our master is benign, upright, courteous, temperate, and complaisant, and thus he gets his information. The master's mode of asking information!-- is it not different from that of other men?'
The Master said, 'While a man's father is alive, look at the bent of his will; when his father is dead, look at his conduct. If for three years he does not alter from the way of his father, he may be called filial.'
1 The philosopher Yu said, 'In practising the rules of propriety, a natural ease is to be prized. In the ways prescribed by the ancient kings, this is the excellent quality, and in things small and great we follow them.
2 'Yet it is not to be observed in all cases. If one, knowing how such ease should be prized, manifests it, without regulating it by the rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be done.'
The philosopher Yu said, 'When agreements are made according to what is right, what is spoken can be made good. When respect is shown according to what is proper, one keeps far from shame and disgrace. When the parties upon whom a man leans are proper persons to be intimate with, he can make them his guides and masters.'
The Master said, 'He who aims to be a man of complete virtue in his food does not seek to gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling place does he seek the appliances of ease; he is earnest in what he is doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents the company of men of principle that he may be rectified:-- such a person may be said indeed to love to learn.'
1 Tsze-kung said, 'What do you pronounce concerning the poor man who yet does not flatter, and the rich man who is not proud?' The Master replied, 'They will do; but they are not equal to him, who, though poor, is yet cheerful, and to him, who, though rich, loves the rules of propriety.'
2 Tsze-kung replied, 'It is said in the Book of Poetry, "As you cut and then file, as you carve and then polish."-- The meaning is the same, I apprehend, as that which you have just expressed.'
3 The Master said, 'With one like Ts'ze, I can begin to talk about the odes. I told him one point, and he knew its proper sequence.'
The Master said, 'I will not be afflicted at men's not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men.'
The Master said, 'He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.'
The Master said, 'In the Book of Poetry are three hundred pieces, but the design of them all may be embraced in one sentence-- "Having no depraved thoughts."'
1 The Master said, 'If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame.
2 'If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.'
1 The Master said, 'At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning.
2 'At thirty, I stood firm.
3 'At forty, I had no doubts.
4 'At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven.
5 'At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth.
6 'At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right.'
1 Mang I asked what filial piety was. The Master said, 'It is not being disobedient.'
2 Soon after, as Fan Ch'ih was driving him, the Master told him, saying, 'Mang-sun asked me what filial piety was, and I answered him,-- "not being disobedient."'
3 Fan Ch'ih said, 'What did you mean?' The Master replied, 'That parents, when alive, be served according to propriety; that, when dead, they should be buried according to propriety; and that they should be sacrificed to according to propriety.'
Mang Wu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, 'Parents are anxious lest their children should be sick.'
Tsze-yu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, 'The filial piety of now-a-days means the support of one's parents. But dogs and horses likewise are able to do something in the way of support;-- without reverence, what is there to distinguish the one support given from the other?'
Tsze-hsia asked what filial piety was. The Master said, 'The difficulty is with the countenance. If, when their elders have any troublesome affairs, the young take the toil of them, and if, when the young have wine and food, they set them before their elders, is THIS to be considered filial piety?'
The Master said, 'I have talked with Hui for a whole day, and he has not made any objection to anything I said;-- as if he were stupid. He has retired, and I have examined his conduct when away from me, and found him able to illustrate my teachings. Hui!-- He is not stupid.'
1 The Master said, 'See what a man does.
2 'Mark his motives.
3 'Examine in what things he rests.
4 'How can a man conceal his character?
5 How can a man conceal his character?'
The Master said, 'If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge, so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of others.'
The Master said, 'The accomplished scholar is not a utensil.'
Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said, 'He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions.'
The Master said, 'The superior man is catholic and no partisan. The mean man is partisan and not catholic.'
The Master said, 'Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.'
The Master said, 'The study of strange doctrines is injurious indeed!'
The Master said, 'Yu, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it;-- this is knowledge.'
1 Tsze-chang was learning with a view to official emolument.
2 The Master said, 'Hear much and put aside the points of which you stand in doubt, while you speak cautiously at the same time of the others:-- then you will afford few occasions for blame. See much and put aside the things which seem perilous, while you are cautious at the same time in carrying the others into practice:-- then you will have few occasions for repentance. When one gives few occasions for blame in his words, and few occasions for repentance in his conduct, he is in the way to get emolument.'
The Duke Ai asked, saying, 'What should be done in order to secure the submission of the people?'Confucius replied, 'Advance the upright and set aside the crooked, then the people will submit. Advance the crooked and set aside the upright, then the people will not submit.'
Chi K'ang asked how to cause the people to reverence their ruler, to be faithful to him, and to go on to nerve themselves to virtue. The Master said, 'Let him preside over them with gravity;-- then they will reverence him. Let him be filial and kind to all;-- then they will be faithful to him. Let him advance the good and teach the incompetent;-- then they will eagerly seek to be virtuous.'
1 Some one addressed Confucius, saying, 'Sir, why are you not engaged in the government?'
2 The Master said, 'What does the Shu-ching say of filial piety?-- "You are filial, you discharge your brotherly duties. These qualities are displayed in government." This then also constitutes the exercise of government. Why must there be THAT-- making one be in the government?'
The Master said, 'I do not know how a man without truthfulness is to get on. How can a large carriage be made to go without the cross-bar for yoking the oxen to, or a small carriage without the arrangement for yoking the horses?'
1 Tsze-chang asked whether the affairs of ten ages after could be known.
2 Confucius said, 'The Yin dynasty followed the regulations of the Hsia: wherein it took from or added to them may be known. The Chau dynasty has followed the regulations of Yin: wherein it took from or added to them may be known. Some other may follow the Chau, but though it should be at the distance of a hundred ages, its affairs may be known.'
1 The Master said, 'For a man to sacrifice to a spirit which does not belong to him is flattery.
2 'To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.'